Couples seek counseling in Bethesda MD for a variety of reasons. However, one of the most common complaints, and the one that shows up regardless of age or cultural background, is communication. Just as every couple is unique, communication problems are unique. Some couples notice that a routine conversation about household chores quickly escalates into a screaming match. These couples might find that they cannot speak to one another without yelling, name calling, or slamming doors. Other couples find that they can exchange pleasantries and manage the daily tasks of sharing a life with someone, but rarely talk about what matters and oftentimes feel more like roommates than partners. Both types of couples struggle with communication, and more specifically, difficulty being open and vulnerable.
Emotional safety is at the root of many communication problems. If you don’t feel as though your relationship is safe and you worry about being criticized or feel as though you’re walking on eggshells, it will be hard to communicate effectively. The questions below will help you share your experiences with your partner, thereby increasing connection and intimacy. Try to be open and honest when you respond to the questions– in and outside of Bethesda couples counseling–and be kind and understanding as you listen to your partner share their answers. Remember that mutual vulnerability fosters closeness.
1). If you had 24 hours and no obligations, what would you do?
2). What do you hope your life will look like in five years? In 10 years?
3). Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
These questions help you tap into your partner’s hopes and dreams. In the beginning of a relationship, couples routinely share their aspirations with one another. Sharing your hopes and dreams can create a common vision for the future. As time goes on, couples often get distracted by day-to-day life and don’t discuss their aspirations for the future, which can lead to disconnection.
4). What is it like to be you for a day?
5). What makes you feel different than other people?
6). What is your biggest fear?
These questions will help you understand what it’s like to walk in your spouse’s shoes. Oftentimes, we only see the wall our partner puts up: anxiety, anger, defensiveness, etc. These questions help you get behind the wall and understand why the wall is up. When you respond, try to show your partner empathy and compassion so they know it’s safe to keep the wall down with you.
7). What is your most treasured memory of our relationship?
8). How have I shown you love and care this week?
9). How have I missed opportunities to connect with you this week?
These questions help you set the foundation for discussing the strengths and growth areas in your relationship. Sharing your answers to these questions can be really difficult, but ultimately, incredibly rewarding. Try to be open to your partner’s feedback and remember that you both share the same goal: greater closeness and intimacy.
What questions do you find helpful for increasing connection in your relationship? Do you struggle to feel connected to your partner? Comment below!